hey hey in the hayloft

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Today I watched Sullivan's Travels again and it was delightful as always. I forget how funny these screwball era movies are if I haven't seen one in a while. Sullivan's Travels was on my mind because I pressed it on a co-worker who hadn't seen it in years  -  she took it on holiday for thanksgiving and her whole family loved it. It's not a classic just because it was funny back in 1942, but because it's TIMELESS.

 One of my favorite bits from early in the movie is director Sullivan - known for his light comedies - trying to convince two studio bosses to let him make O Brother Where Art Thou, his movie vision that's "a true canvas of the suffering of humanity." I love the bosses trying to bargain for "a little sex in it" and I really love the titles of his early films: Hey Hey in the Hayloft; So long, Sarong; Ants in Your Plants of 1939. (ANTS IN YOUR PLANTS OF 1939!!!!) Ha ha ha! These titles are perfect parodies of a certain kind of movie (Gold Diggers of 1933/1935/1937, anyone?) but I would happily watch any one of them if they really existed.

But my luck is even better, because I have the rest of the Preston Sturges box set waiting by the television.  (I think maybe Palm Beach Story next - that one has Joel McCrae and Claudette Colbert and, of course,  hilarious misunderstandings.)

Or maybe I should watch this one again and follow it up with the Coen brothers O Brother Where Art Thou...

7 comments on "hey hey in the hayloft"
  1. Right there with you. Personally, I've always loved The Lady Eve. And have you ever seen The More The Merrier? That's George Stevens, not Sturges. But wow, I love that movie.

  2. I love The Lady Eve! Barbara Stanwyck is THE BEST. Have you seen Ball of Fire? Written by Wilder and Brackett, directed by Howard Hawks - Stanwyck plays a nightclub singer on the lam named Sugarpuss O'Shea (!) who ends up living in a house full of dictionary writers, one of whom is Gary Cooper. (it's streaming on Netflix right now.)

    Yes to The More the Merrier! So fun but also romantic and smartass.... sigh. They don't make them like they used to. I was just thinking about More the Merrier yesterday while looking at the DVD case for Cary Grant's last movie (Walk, Don't Run). I thought it looked like a remake or a sneak remake of TMtM. I haven't watched the Grant one yet (he plays the meddling matchmaker), but I should get at it since I've had it checked out of the library forever.

  3. Have I seen Ball of Fire? Please! :) How can you not love a movie about a gangster girl/singer who shacks up with a bunch of nerdy researchers? It's like the original Big Bang Theory. Only better.

    And YES, Barbara Stanwyck is indeed THE BEST. I've have the biggest anachronistic crush on her. Man, now I need to rewatch Ball of Fire.

    No, they don't make movies like that anymore. It's so sad. They've tried here and there, but they've never succeeded. The only examples I can think of that have worked in the last few decades are What's Up, Doc? and a lesser known movies called The Coca-Cola Kid.

  4. I've never even heard of the Coca-Cola kid! I will add it to my list.

    What's Up Doc didn't work as well for me because it felt like they were straining to be one of these old movies the whole time (I think Peter Bogdonovitch was going for Bringing Up Baby). HOWEVER, I'm willing to concede that I was just grumpy when I watched it. I need to give it another go because everybody who knows about these things l-o-v-e-s it so. There are some instances I'm quite happy to be wrong. (not many, but some!)

  5. It's not as good as the old screwballs, no. But it's fun. And Barbara Streisand is quite wonderful in it. I prefer that Barbara to the crooner and self-important weepy drama Barbara that is more well-known. And egads, to think she's remembered now for the Fockers, and not for movies like this! Egads! I just want to eat her up when I watch it. But, no, no Bringing Up Baby.

  6. OMG, yes. That Barbra is fun Barbra*. I can't even think about the Fockers.

    *True Confession: I also love her in Hello Dolly, even though it is ridiculous!


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